Duddon Valley

Duddon Valley
Duddon Valley

The Duddon Valley is in the south-west of the Lake District, running north to south just to the left of Coniston. It isn’t popular, perhaps because it doesn’t have any big mountains, but it’s one of the most beautiful valleys of Cumbria. Spring is a good time to visit because of the blackthorn and hawthorn blossom, wild garlic, bluebells, and the delicate bright green of new leaves.

The road climbs very steeply for half a mile as you enter the valley and as soon as it levels out you give an internal “ooh” as you see the view. The fields, walls, barns and hills are laid out just so and the trees look like they’ve been chosen to make an arboretum. This is one place where the view is better down near the road than from the hill tops.

The rain that started at lunch time wasn’t just a shower and eventually I gave up early and retired for a cuppa at an empty cafe in Broughton, a very pleasant little market village close by.

Skiddaw and Helvellyn in the blue hour

The Helvellyn range at last light
The Helvellyn range at last light

These are some shots I took a couple of weeks ago from a place I haven’t been before, St. John’s in the Vale in the northern Lake District. There’s a place called Low Rigg, a pretty modest little hill with a great view. Many of these shots were taken after the sun had gone down behind the hills, hence the lovely blue-purple colours. I’d thought at first that I was getting a good view of Skiddaw but checking the pictures and the map the peak I’d thought was Skiddaw is actually Little Man, a secondary top about a mile in front. You can just see Skiddaw summit peaking out behind it in some of the shots.

Tree Portrait, Tarn Hows

This portrait is of a tree in the small lake of Tarn Hows in the Lake District. It was a disappointing day otherwise. I was hoping for the tail end of the autumn colour but it had gone already and this is the only shot of the day that I’m happy with.


The warm toning of the black and white conversion comes from Lightroom’s Creamtone preset, which I haven’t used before but may use again.


I found a quiet day during the Christmas rush at the end of November and went out to Grasmere in the Lake District. There had been some snow and the mountain tops looked pretty. Very cold and windy, which made photographing difficult and encouraged me to do the circuit as quickly as I could to keep warm. Starting from Grasmere village I did a circuit starting up to Helm Crag and north and west along the ridge then dropping down into Easedale at it’s head and back along the valley bottom. It’s been a long time since I’ve been up there and I didn’t know how good the views were. Definitely a place for a return visit.

Helvellyn must be one of the most difficult Cumbrian mountains to photograph. From almost every angle it hides itself among other high tops. Some mountains are easily recognisable, some are iconic (think the Matterhorn) but even if you know the Lake District well can you picture Helvellyn in your mind’s eye? I’ll have to keep trying.